Monday, May 24, 2010

Fill 'Er Up, and Where's the Museum?

These ideas always sound so inspired.

Hey, let's give a crash course on being a tourist guide to the guys who work at gas stations!

Which is what the city of Johannesburg is planning here in these final two weeks and change before South Africa 2010.

From the story linked above:

Employees at Sasol garages will be sent on a training course, and be able to provide helpful information on places of interest like Nelson Mandela’s former home in Soweto, or Constitution Hill in downtown Johannesburg, which celebrates South Africa’s new democracy.

"We are delighted to offer this industry-first, value-add service to our customers, both local and foreign, to ensure that they get the most out of their experience of the city of Johannesburg," Sasol Oil managing director Maurice Radebe said.

The Joburg Tourism company said the two-day training program will include different modules on tourism awareness, cultural diversity and a tour of all the tourist attractions in the city.

As we noted, a nice thought. But how practical is it?

Take if from a guy who pumped gas as a kid ... I knew where Broadway and Pine was ... but I probably couldn't tell you where civic luminaries in my town lived, back when I was a teenager checking oil and washing windows.

Maybe South Africa's pump jockeys know more about their hometown, and it's cultural epicenters ... but I'm not sure I would ask a guy at the BP where the nearest good Italian restaurant is. Or where Nelson Mandela lived, in Soweto.

More than anything this seems to be a sign of the country's enthusiasm (finally) for the event. To look at South Africa media these past few weeks is to get a sense of a country that is close to being "All World Cup all the time!"

As someone who has been watching South African media for the past year, I can say this: "It's about time people there got excited."

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